World Cup Draw Analysis: Is There Any Hope For US And English Fans?

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by LetsRun.com
December 6, 2013

Since there is a lot of running involved in soccer (or football, depending on where you live), we thought we’d get in on the 2014 World Cup fever this afternoon ourselves. It only make sense because next year with no World Championships in track and field, we’re going to be watching a lot of soccer.

The World Cup Draw was announced today and the quick reaction by the pundits is, “Oh brother, the US is screwed. They got put in the ‘Group of Death.'” English fans, the reaction for you isn’t a whole lot better as both the US and England were drawn into four team groups that each included three of the top 15 teams in the world.

(Side note: Little known fact. London, England is the second most popular city for LetsRun.com in the world. NY is #1).

But at LetsRun, we pride ourselves on focusing on statistics. Do the numbers actually back up what the pundits are saying?

Indeed for the most part, the stats show the pundits are correct. We first ranked the 8 World Cup groups by average world ranking. We did this both with the official Fifa rankings as well as the Eloratings.net rankings which many like Sports Illustrated soccer columnist Grant Wahl prefer to the Fifa rankings as the EloRatings take into account both goal differential and venue of the game. Under both sets of rankings, the US is in the toughest group – aka The Group of Death – and England the second toughest.

We then did a second analysis only looking at the strength of the top three teams in each region thinking that if only the top two teams advance and everyone beats up on the lowly fourth place team in each group, does it really matter what the fourth team is seeded?

Under the top three only scenario, things look a little bit better for England and the US. England drops down to the third most difficult group and the US moves into second when the Eloratings are used.worldcup2014

World Cup Groups Ranked By Fifa Rankings

Group G – 11.25
Germany – 2
Portugal – 5
Ghana – 24
USA – 14

Group D – 14.25
Uruguay – 6
Costa Rica – 31
England – 13
Italy – 7

Group B – 17.75
Spain – 1
Netherlands – 9
Chile – 15
Austria – 46

Group C – 20
Columbia – 3
Greece – 12
Ivory Coast – 17
Japan – 48

Group E – 22.75
Switzerland -8
Ecuador – 23
France – 19
Honduras – 41

Group A – 24.25
Brazil – 10
Croatia – 16
Mexico – 20
Cameroon – 51

Group F – 26.25
Argentina – 3
Bos-Herz – 21
Iran – 45
Nigeria – 36

Group H – 28.25
Belgium – 11
Algeria – 26
Russia – 22
Korea Republic – 54

World Cup Groups Ranked By EloRatings.net

Group G – 14.25
Germany – 3
Portugal – 8
Ghana – 33
USA – 13

Group D – 14.5
Uruguay – 9
Costa Rica – 31
England – 7
Italy – 11

Group B – 16.5
Spain – 2
Netherlands – 5
Chile – 10
Austria – 49

Group C – 17.25
Columbia – 6
Greece – 17
Ivory Coast – 21
Japan – 25

Group E – 21.5
Switzerland – 14
Ecuador – 16
France – 12
Honduras – 44

Group F – 21.75
Argentina – 4
Bos-Herz – 24
Iran – 29
Nigeria – 30

Group A – 25.5
Brazil – 1
Croatia – 23
Mexico – 22
Cameroon – 56

Group H – 38.75
Belgium – 18
Algeria – 59
Russia – 16
Korea Republic – 42

Rupp and Farah playing soccer earlier this year. Oregonian video here.

Galen Rupp and Mo Farah playing soccer earlier this year. Oregonian video here.

2nd Analysis discarding the weakest team in each region.

World Cup Groups Ranked By Fifa Rankings – Top 3 Teams Only

Group G – 7
Germany – 2
Portugal – 5
Ghana – (24)
USA – 14

Group B – 8.33
Spain – 1
Netherlands – 9
Chile – 15
Austria – (46)

Group D – 8.67
Uruguay – 6
Costa Rica – (31)
England – 13
Italy – 7

Group C – 10.67
Columbia – 3
Greece – 12
Ivory Coast – 17
Japan – (48)

Group A – 15.33
Brazil – 10
Croatia – 16
Mexico – 20
Cameroon – (51)

Group E – 16.67
Switzerland -8
Ecuador – 23
France – 19
Honduras – 41

Group H – 19.67
Belgium – 11
Algeria – 26
Russia – 22
Korea Republic – (54)

Group F – 20
Argentina – 3
Bos-Herz – 21
Iran – (45)
Nigeria – 36

World Cup Groups Ranked By EloRatings.net- Top 3 Teams Only

Group B – 5.67
Spain – 2
Netherlands – 5
Chile – 10
Austria – (49)

Group G – 8
Germany – 3
Portugal – 8
Ghana – (33)
USA – 13

Group D – 9
Uruguay – 9
Costa Rica – (31)
England – 7
Italy – 11

Group E -14
Switzerland – 14
Ecuador – 16
France – 12
Honduras – (44)

Group C – 14.67
Columbia – 6
Greece – 17
Ivory Coast – 21
Japan – (25)

Group A – 15.33
Brazil – 1
Croatia – 23
Mexico – 22
Cameroon – (56)

Group F – 19
Argentina – 4
Bos-Herz – 24
Iran – 29
Nigeria – (30)

Group H – 25.33
Belgium – 18
Algeria – (59)
Russia – 16
Korea Republic – 42

Discuss the 2014 World Cup Draw on our messageboard: USA in group with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana for the World Cup.


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Posted in: Analysis, LRC


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